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History of Dakota N473DC

Douglas C47A-DC3  N473DC

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C47A Skytrain USAAF Serial Number 42-100882
December 1943 to September 1944

Delivered to the USAAF Dakota N473DCDecember 1943.  Assigned to 9th Air Force Troop Carrier Command (E.T.O) Flew to the UK in February 1944.

Assigned to 87th Troop Carrier Squadron, 438th Troop Carrier Group, IX Troop Carrier Command, Greenham Common, Berkshire. (438th provided the 4 lead squadrons on D-Day, seen off to France by Gen. Eisenhower).

Fitted with model 80 Glider pick-up gear to recover an assault glider from the D-Day landing grounds for refurbishment/re-use in future operations.

Towed and assault glider in Operation Elmira on D Day (Carried soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division) and re-supply after the landings.  Recovered WACO Assault gliders from Normandy landing grounds July/August 1944.

Transferred to RAF on 2nd September 1944.

Dakota Mk.3 RAF September 1944 to April 1946
Serial Number TS422

Dakota N473DCAssigned to No.1 Heavy Glider Servicing Unit, 38th Airborne Forces Group, Netheravon, Wiltshire from September 1944 until August 1945.

Recovered gliders from Normandy landing grounds and collected and delivered WACO, Hadrian and Airspeed Horsa assault gliders to RAF bases prior to Operation Market Garden (Arnhem) and later, in March 1945 in readiness for Operation Varsity, the Rhine Crossing.

Transferred to 435 (RCAF) Squadron at Down Ampney, Wiltshire in August 1945, under RAF control.  Carried out freight duties and troop movements throughout Europe and Scandinavia until April 1946, including returning Allied POW’s.

BATTLE DAMAGE: Numerous bullet holes from aerial attack to cockpit and nose areas, including bullet through pilot’s seat back.  Flak and ground fire damage to under wing and rear fuselage areas. Dates and locations of damage unknown.  Crew injuries in action unknown.  Most likely related to the Arnhem re-supply campaign.


Royal Canadian Air Force 1946 to 1966
Dakota MK.3 Serial Number TS 422 (Carried over from the RAF)

Returned to Canada in April 1946 with other ex 435 Squadron aircraft.  Operated throughout Canada in numerous roles, including glider tug, parachute transport, search and rescue and medi-vac (fitted with skis and jet take off rockets), Pilot conversion trainer, Military freighter and troop carrier.  Operated in the far North of Canada, well above the Arctic Circle using specially fitted sun compass, due to the proximity to the North Pole.

Sold for Civilian use in 1966.  Now Re-classified as :-

Douglas DC3-C
Serial number CF-KAZ (Later C-FKAZ) 1966 to 1985

Numerous operators as a passenger airliner and commercial freighter, including Kier Air Transport (1966-70); Trans-Provincial Airlines (1970-78) and Pacific Coastal Airlines.

Sold to USA in 1985 and stored in Texas until 1995.

N5831B 1985-2006

Freighter for McNeely Air Charter from 1995-2002, operating in the Southern United States and based in Memphis Tennessee.

Sold to the Arizona Warbirds Museum and then to the current owner in 2004.  Stored in Tuscon Arizona and restored by Edwards Worldwide Aviation.

Flown 5500 miles from Arizona to Liverpool in late May 2005. Route- Tuscon, Arizona – Great Falls, Montana – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada – Churchill, Manitoba – Iqualuit, Baffin Island – Sonderstrom Airbase, Greenland – Reykjavik, Iceland – Wick, Scotland – Liverpool, England.
Total flying time 34.5 Hours.

N473DC from 2006

Aircraft now restored to 87th Squadron, USAAF, D-Day colours Winter 2005/6.

Verified Operational Roles

Military 1944 to 1966

Troop Carrier (USAF/RAF/RCAF 1944/1966)
Military Freighter (USAAF/RAF/RCAF 1944-1966)
Assault Glider Tug (USAAF/RAF/RCAF 1944-c.1953)
Assault Glider Snatch Recovery Tug (USAAF/RAF 1944-1945)
Parachute Transport (RCAF 1946-c.1953)
Search and Rescue/Medi-Vac (+ Skis and Jato Rockets RCAF 1953-c.1959)
Multi-Engine Conversion Trainer (RCAF c.1959-1960)